Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

In Eastwood’s chair: It wasn’t just Obama. It was all people of color

(For my convention wrap, see the full post on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog).

Invisible Obama in Eastwood’s chair? How about invisible you and me. That may have been the only time the Republicans really talked to people of color all convention week.

As far as people of color were concerned, it was a convention of model minorities, but without many Asian Americans. Sec. Rice, Sen. Marco Rubio, New Mexico’s Gov. Martinez were essentially just hood ornaments for this GOP. With Gov. Bobby Jindal tending to Isaac, Gov. Nikki Haley was the most prominent Asian American speaker. But she spoke more like a true Southerner than a South Asian, extolling the virtues of discriminatory voter ID practices and harsh immigration laws.

Here’s what surprised me most. Usually there’s at least one speaker who uses the litany that mentions “black, Latino, Asian American” in context of the diversity of the American people. But the rhetoric here was devoid of any of that in almost every speech at the convention. Indeed, it was anti-diversity. Even Romney’s speech would rather have a generic America, where race was whited out. 

When he spoke of an America he wanted to “restore,”  he said:

And does the America that we want succumb to resentment and
division among Americans?


“The America we all know has been a story of many becoming
one. United to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest
the economy in the world, uniting to save the world from
unspeakable darkness.

“ Everywhere I go there are monuments and now for those who
have given their lives for America.  There is no mention of
their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a

That’s as close as we get to showing up on the radar at a GOP convention

The America Mitt Romney wants restored is really a step backwards in time, maybe to pre-1965, before immigration, before civil rights. Factory defaults, please.

That’s not the America we’re in. But that’s appears to be the kind of country Romney feels comfortable being a leader of.

Maybe that’s because of the kind of people who are Republicans these days. When Romney talked about restoring an America to one that “will care for the poor and sick, will honor and respect the elderly and will giving a helping hand to those in need.  That America is the best within each of us.That America we want for our children,” the line fell flat.

Made me nostalgic for George Bush’s compassionate conservatives. But those people are moderate Democrats by today’s GOP standards.

When the Democrats show up in Charlotte, they’ll likely seem a whole lot more reasonable, diverse, and understanding by comparison.

After this GOP convention, the message is clear. You’re as invisible as Obama was in Eastwood’s chair. That was you.

If you’re black, Latino, Asian, you didn’t show up in their convention.  You weren’t real. My big takeaway? Romney is all-gender all the time. He seems to have pretty much conceded the diversity vote.


Paul Ryan’s RNC speech: Selling ”little government”

The conventions are the official time when rhetoric wins out over facts.

The campaigners are in speechify mode—going for the emotional sale.

So what else could we expect from Paul Ryan Wednesday night but recycled half-truths, untruths, and gas, packaged in a nice thin inflatable polymer.

That’s the stuff that rises up to the bunting in a convention.

And no amount of fact-checking matters.

Of course, it’s much different in real life, outside the convention hall, where rhetoric rarely soars, and voters are left with deflated hopes.

That didn’t stop Ryan Wednesday night. Known as a wonky, number crunching ideologue, he departed from all that policy stuff, though he did set parameters for the opposite of Big Government.  What would that be? Little Government, of course. That’s what R and R is all about. Keep federal spending at 20% of GDP? “That is enough,” Ryan said.

Spoken like a true “central planner.”

But numbers are boring. So Ryan showed off  his political style. He rallied young adults still living in their childhood bedrooms staring at faded Obama posters. He outed Romney’s iPod playlist as elevator music while revealing his own (AC/DC to Zeppelin? Really? I would have figured him a Styx and Kansas guy).

He pandered to women by showing off his family, calling his mom his mentor. His softened his slashing of Medicare by talking about his grandmother. She relies on it? She won’t in Ryan’s little government.

Why little government should appeal to anyone is ironic, but especially among those on the margins who would probably like to rely a little more on government these days. More unemployment. More public works jobs. More mortgage bailouts. So when Ryan addressed those who’ve felt left out of the economy, I was startled when he said “you haven’t failed, your leaders have.”

The crowd cheered, but those outside won’t be cheering when Ryan tells them his little government is unable to do a thing for little people.

Maybe big business will get its share. It always does in a world where corporations count as people. As for you little people, you’ll just have to take responsibility for yourselves.

Speaking of responsibility, if Ryan was so quick to blame failed leadership, shouldn’t he as the Congressional budget guy take some “personal responsibility” for his own failure to reach compromise with Democrats on a plan that would work for the people?  How does he go without blame?

He can’t.

Doesn’t matter. He’s the little government guy who wants to be the No.2 public servant in the land.

Problem is, his ideas may be too little for all of us.


One thing Ryan didn’t do is point out to  any of his black.Latino and Asian friends in the crowd. Maybe because there weren’t very many there.

Maybe his diversity angle came when he talked about his time as a dishwasher or mowing lawns. That was his time to show empathy. Hey, he actually did jobs that are usually available to minorities!  But he  then he brags about how he wasn’t limited by his situation. If he was truthful, he’d say,”being white helped me a lot. And my well-connected father got me my first Capitol Hill job.”

Ryan’s weakiness on diversity is so glaring, he negates any impact that Sec. Rice and Gov.Martinez had speaking just before him. If you were a minority GOPer, Ryan wasn’t reassuring.  He’s your forced fed young ideolgoue, with no message of inclusion or  compassion. Not in a  a little government themed campaign.

As he exited in “we can do this” mode, Ryan mentioned a bigger safety net? Bigger, you’ll be hard pressed to find one at all  in the little government of Romney/Ryan.


Ryan? Really? Romney’s post-racial veep pick

What does “post-racial” really mean?

If you want a good example, look at Romney’s veep pick. Leading up to it, any pick was largely seen as somewhat uneventful. Could it really make an impact? Wouldn’t Romney pick a competent person anyway? So who would enhance his chances? 

If race mattered, and it should in a diverse society where minorities have become the majority in many states, then by all means the pick should have been a Rubio, or a Jindal.  That would have been a bold message to the electorate.

It would have also expanded Romney’s universe of voters, with the potential of siphoning off some votes away from Obama.

But with a Ryan pick, Romney doubles down on the 1 percent.  He’s solidified his position among those who might think he’s a softie. He’s selected the man most responsible for the gridlock in the “Do Nothing” Congress. Ryan’s the guy who is the most polarizing on the key issue of the day: the economy. 

Romney was going to get his Tea Party conservatives anyway. They weren’t going to sit this one out. He was going to get the Ryan voters. More significantly, a Ryan choice doesn’t make Romney more likeable to those who only marginally disliked him.  If they disliked him even a little bit, now they should really stay away.

And those who really were  on the fence?  Well, now they have a choice between the stark harsh measures from a slash and burn budget guy like Ryan, and the president and the Democrats who by comparison seem reasonable and more compassionate.

But it’s definitely a “post-racial” veep pick, and a clear signal to new majority of America.

What’s Romney saying with his choice of Ryan? Hispanics? Don’t need you. Asians? Who are you? Blacks? You got your guy.

As for union workers, common folks, everyone else without a job or a Cayman Islands bank account, if you like even more of the pain you’re experiencing, Romney-Ryan is the answer.